Car Wash Workers Win Contract

Police observing a March protest at the Vegas Auto Spa, whose owner has now signed a two year contract with the workers. (Photo by Elizabeth Graham via The Brooklyn Paper)

Police observing a March protest at the Vegas Auto Spa, whose owner has now signed a two-year contract with the workers. (Photo by Elizabeth Graham via The Brooklyn Paper)

Eight striking employees of Vegas Auto Spa car wash in Greenwood Heights, who received support from city officials, have won a two-year contract agreement that includes wage increases, paid time off, and overtime, among other items, Jaime DeJesus writes in The Home Reporter.

It is the strongest contract won in the industry, with higher wages and a $1,500-per-person signing bonus.

The contract is the ninth negotiated since the Wash New York Campaign launched three years ago, but only the first at a Brooklyn car wash. Larry Cary from the law firm Cary Kane represented the union during negotiations.

The workers had gone on strike four months ago, saying that car wash owner Marat Leshehinsky had not paid them either minimum wage or overtime and owed them a total of $600,000. He claimed he always followed minimum wage laws, reports The Home Reporter. City officials were cheered by the latest news. Among them was City Council member Carlos Menchaca, who had been arrested for civil disobedience at a March rally in support of the workers.

“We celebrate the ‘carwasheros’ of Vegas Auto Spa for their courageous leadership in labor contract agreement that provides the protection that they need and deserve,” said Menchaca in a statement. “This settlement sends a strong message that all workers deserve dignity and respect, and are empowered through their unions.”

Also reporting on the contract agreement was Noah Hurowitz of The Brooklyn Paper, who quoted a union official on the outcome.

“This is a perfect example of what can happen when courageous workers stick together in the face of adversity,” said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union. “They understand the difference being in a union can make, and I am proud they are part of the RWDSU.”

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